IDS’ NanoJet printing technology uses a unique’ patented method to focus liquid-based aerosol particles to print electronic features. The sheath gas used for focusing provides a gas buffer to prevent the liquid particles from impacting and adhering to the internal surfaces of the NanoJet technology. The transmission efficiency for the NanoJet technology is nearly 100%. In the Phase I project IDS demonstrated that this same technology works for atmospheric sampling of small liquid-based aerosol droplets (0.3-5µm). During the Phase I project, IDS was able to develop and validate computation fluid dynamic (CFD) models to accurately predict the behavior of the aerosol particles passing through the aerosol separation device. These CFD tools will be used for design work in the Phase II project. Using particle densities needed for printing, IDS was able to correlate the particle density on Venus to an expected operational lifetime of the aerosol separator operating on Venus. The operational lifetime is predicted to exceed a 1-year operation by more than two orders of magnitude based on calculations. This is a result of the near 100% transmission efficiency of the NanoJet particle concentration technology. IDS demonstrated experimentally that the NanoJet technology would operate well in a vacuum environment to below 0.1 Bar pressure. It is expected that the aerosol separator will operate continuously over a wide range of pressures. The Phase II project will extend the Phase I work to produce a ruggedized, space compatible aerosol separator than can perform well on a mission to Venus and for other atmospheric sampling applications. The Phase II project will test the limits of the new aerosol separator and focus on simplifying the operation of the separator to reduce risk associated with a complex assembly. IDS will have a dedicated test platform for testing purposes. Continuous testing of advancements will ensure that each design iteration is robust.
Venus provides the single most accessible example of an end-state of habitable Earth size planet. Exploration will identify mechanisms that operate together to produce and maintain habitable worlds. Venus allows us to control for some of the factors that contribute to the geologic evolution of the Earth, e.g., surface gravity, heat budget, plate tectonics and potentially long-lived oceans. It addresses strategic objectives of the Heli physics Science Division to understand the Sun and its interactions with Earth, the solar system and more.
Aerosol particles are solid and liquid particles suspended in a gas with size range of 3 nm to 100 μm in diameter. Analysis of aerosols is important because of their major impacts on global climate change, visibility, regional air pollution and human health. Aerosols can be analyzed for both size and chemical composition for a variety of commercial opportunities.